This weekend Hubbard Street dances a program of works by three Latino artists: their phenomenal resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, Mexican choreographer and Princess Grace Award winner Victor Quijada, and world-renowned Nacho Duato, former artistic director of the Compañia Nacional de Danza, soon on his way to take the helm of the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Hubbard Street is the first U.S. company to obtain the rights to Duato’s “Arcangelo”—a Baroque vision of heaven and hell. Duato has been in Chicago to teach the piece—a rare treat for Hubbard Street, which has performed his works over the years, but never before had the opportunity to learn from the man himself.
“I enjoy very much working with the company; each year they’re getting better and better. I think now their repertoire is very challenging for the dancers. They’re working with very different choreographers, they tackle different time periods in contemporary work,” Duato says. “And yes, I think it’s one of the best companies in the U.S.”
The praise is not insignificant considering the pedigree of companies Mr. Duato has worked with; from here he goes to set dances on companies in Naples, Stockholm and Oslo and Moscow, including the Bolshoi Ballet. In the spring he’s slated to create a world premiere for the Paris Opera. All told, he manages to squeeze in six to seven requisitions each year.
“I don’t like to go to a company and do a dance and never come back again,” he says. “I like to build a relation with companies that I work with. Each time I give them more challenging work and that’s what it’s all about.” When I asked his feelings about the move from his native Spain to Russia he reflected a moment and said, “It will be a huge change culturally and weather-wise. I had a company of thirty dancers and now I’ll be directing a company of 130; this is a big challenge for me. It will be a lot of work, changing a very classical conservative Russian company into something more European and modern…that’s why they want me there.”
I then ask if he prefers working with classically focused dancers. He practically cuts me off with the reply. “I love to work with dancers who love what they do and live for being on stage no matter what style they do. This is why I enjoy working with the dancers here.” (Sharon Hoyer)
At the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 East Randolph, (312)850-9744. September 30-October 3, $25-$94.